Here’s another Q&A from Don, this one with prospect David Meckler, who will be a restricted free agent this summer…
Selected as the 134th pick in the 2006 NHL entry draft by the Kings, David Meckler turned more then a few heads in his inaugural season with Manchester. Tallying 23 goals in 76 games, the 20-year-old used his speed to create opportunities and fit in nicely on a young team in search of an identity.
Meckler scored 38 goals in the 2006-07 season with the OHL’s London Knights before joining the Monarchs, and credits his time in London for helping to make the transition into the American League a seamless one.
Meckler took a few minutes away from his summer training regimen to chat about his season and future in the organization.
Q&A: David Meckler
Question: The Monarchs’ foray into the Calder Cup playoffs was a brief one, but it was your first taste of post season action in the American League. How was that experience for you?
Meckler: I had an amazing year at Manchester both as a player and a person. I definitely grew as a player playing professional hockey and as a person with the lifestyle. The playoffs were exciting, and even though it didn’t turn out liked we wanted it to, it was still a fun part of the year. And it was like we’d heard all year that it was just a different style of hockey in the playoffs and to play at that level with my teammates and against our opponents I definitely learned a lot.
Question: You touched upon the regular season a bit. Did you feel like you played up to your own expectations?
Meckler: Yes, absolutely. I was a little unsure of what my role was going to be with the team coming in as a 20-year-old, and we have a great organization and coaching staff, so they just brought me along and gave me different roles and played along some great players and grow as a player.
Question: Were there huge differences between the OHL and the American League for you?
Meckler: Not really, and I think that was why I was pretty successful during the year. I had played with the London Knights the year before and with Mark Hunter running the organization they really do everything possible to go to the next level and make that transition less difficult. The playing style and skill level is definitely the biggest change.
Question: Speed is obviously a huge part of your game. How do you manage to maintain that area as a distinct advantage over the course of 80+ games?
Meckler: Honestly, it really is summer training. I always pride myself on being in great condition and being able to put out the best physical performance that I can, and with the summer work-out I make sure that I’m not just at my peak 30 or 40 games into the season, but being just as good when the playoffs come around. Training in the summer is a huge difference and I’m a big believer in it.
Question: So, are you already in the swing of your summer routine?
Meckler: I’ve been into it for about a month now.
Question: I know you are a restricted free agent. Has the organization reached out to you yet about resigning you?
Meckler: My agent and the L.A. staff have been having conversations since the summer began and there’s nothing I can really do, it’s out of my hands. I did everything I think I could do during the season to prove myself and I’m just going to train as if I’m going to be playing for the Kings next year.
Question: What are your overall impressions of the organization’s system? Is it something that you have bought into and feel it translates into both team and individual success?
Meckler: Absolutely. Like I said, it is my first year so I can’t really compare it to anything, but from my point of view both the L.A. staff and the Manchester staff they work close to each other with coaching coming up and down and working with us and going from the camp in L.A. to playing in Manchester, it was all the same system and same beliefs and is very well knit together.
Question: How were you notified of the Kings deciding to fire coach Crawford?
Meckler: I found out about it on the news.
Question: Knowing that the team will have a different coach come training camp, is there some thought already on making an impression on a new coach?
Meckler: I think you can look at it that way, but honestly it is really about being able to control what you can control as a player. No matter who the coach is and if he knows you or not, I’m just going to go to camp and show him what I can do regardless if he knows me or not. I think most players do that. No matter who you are playing for you have to give all you’ve got.
Question: I see you wore a big number, number 55. Any significance to that?
Meckler: Not really. When I went to London there were only a couple of numbers left and I just liked the sound of it. I had always been number 10 and had also been number five, so I figured five and five is 10 and it is also two fives. It is kind of stupid, but there were only a few numbers available and it worked out in my mind and I had a great year in London with it, so I decided to keep it.
Question: Besides your rigorous training this summer, do you have any vacation plans or fun times on your calendar?
Meckler: I’m going to be going to Peter Harrold’s wedding in a few weeks and there will be some of the players there so I am looking forward to that, but mostly it will just be waking up every day and working out every day and just get ready for training camp.